First off new to the forum, not new to aquariums. I've been in the aquarium hobby off and on for about 25 years when my dad bought me my first aquarium way back... I've been out of the hobby for about 5-6 years while I had somewhat of a life reboot, new house, kids (my oldest is 4, my youngest is 6mo, and I now have one on the way!).
My last tanks were a 55g community planted low tech with DIY CO2, and a 36G reef with anemone, corals, the works. Back when I did the 55G, I vowed that if I ever did a planted tank again, I would do it right, and not spare expense with DIY, and go all high tech (get everything I wanted in the start). I enjoyed the low tech approach, but had I had the money that I spent in trial and error, I probably could have gone high tech anyway.
As for reefs, I immensely enjoyed that as well, but that was a level of insane that I'm not sure I want to ratchet back up. lol. All my tanks were very successful, especially the reef, but this time I'm going for as much automation as I can and keeping the insanity level to a moderate crazy.
After about 6 months of planning, reading, and catching up on the latest trends I have arrived at a 90G no expense spared high tech planted tank. The primary fish focus will be discus. I chose discus because one, I have never done discus, and two the coloration and variety really appeal to me and I wanted a more focal species.
Tomorrow morning I pick up the tank and begin setup (so new pics will start tomorrow), I'll try to dig up some of my previous tank pictures tonight as well. As for equipment its been raining boxes all week.
(this has to just about be my favorite part, opening boxes with new equipment!).
Main Equipment List
* 90G Aqueon with Cherry stand
* Rena Filstar Xp4 - I fell in love with these filters long ago.
* Lily Pipe (on order)
* 300w Inline Heater, Inline UV
* Fully Automated CO2 system from AquariumPlants.com (external reactor with probe holder & 10lbs bottle)
* AquaticLife 48" T5 HO 4x54 with moonlights
* Seachem Flourite Original - Always worked well for me in the past.
Much of the focus is to minimize any in tank equipment and make as much exist underneath the tank or be hidden out of view.
* Cardinal Tetras (Cardinal Tetras instead of Neon as recommended by Paul)
* Marble Hatchets
* Discus (not sure)
* Cleanup crew (Siamese Algae Eater, Various Shrimp, otocinclus, etc)
* Pygmy Dwarf Puffer
- My son insists we must have a puffer fish! Honestly they are a very cool little fish!
Being personally heavily influenced by a lot of the Nature Aquarium World books by Takashi Amano, this time I wanted to plan out and keep the fish somewhat themed instead of picking up the "fish of the day" and having 50 different species. Not that their is anything wrong with that. I've done it many times, its how you learn about all varieties, but this time is a little more focused.
As for discus, I'm undecided. I've been considering Red Turquoise, leopard/snake skins, etc... To go with all the same, or all different. Advice is encuraged here especially.
The hardscape will be mostly driftwood (which won't arrive until Monday), and the overall theme will be "amazonian". While I am specifying an overall theme, I don't intend for that to dominate choices in plant variety's. This is after all a personal tank, and other than maybe .01% would even notice if an African plant was in a Amazon themed tank.
So far plant varieties up for consideration are;
Dwarf Baby Tears (Hemianthus callitrichoides)
Micro Sword (Lilaeopsis brasiliensis)
Parva (Cryptocoryne Parva)
Attatched to Driftwood
Christmas moss (Vesicularia montagnei)
Java Fern (Microsorium pteropus)
Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri)
Red Wendtii (Cryptocoryne wendtii)
Red Mellon Sword (Echinodorus barthii)
Red Tiger Lotus (Nymphaea zenkeri)
Red Ludwigia (Ludwigia glandulosa)
Rotala Wallichii (Rotala Wallichii)
Corkscrew Vallisneria (Vallisneria americana var. biwaensis)
Ludwigia Broad Leaf (Ludwigia repens)
Rotala Magenta (Rotal Macrandra)
Local Water Chemistry
GH 80 mg/L
KH 90 mg/L
I'm somewhat happy with the local water. Preferred the KH/GH be a bit lower but with CO2 I think I can get the PH down around the 7.0 mark and have my CO2 be in the 30ppm area with little or preferably
no additives. From everything I read modern tank raised discus benefit more from frequent water changes than from perfect 4 KH and 6.5 PH. Given the tap water is adequate, my attempt will be to use it as is, and make it easier to do changes without having to balance additives in the water column (which can cause more damage than good).
So... Here we are.
The eve of it all. Months of planning, saving, dreaming. I'm like a kid before Christmas. Tomorrow morning I pick up the tank, the filter/co2/lighting should be delivered by the afternoon, and that should give me the weekend to setup, fill the tank and iron out any issues with equipment before Mondays driftwood delivery. Then I can arrange the hardscape and substrate, finalize the plant species, and get an order placed for delivery by next weekend for aquascaping!